Sunday, 4 September 2016

This pine tree is Europe’s oldest living tree

AUGUST 22, 2016

by Brett Smith

Scientists have identified the oldest known living tree in Europe, a Bosnian pine dated to nearly 1,100 years old.

Located in the highlands of Greece, the tree was dated using dendrocronology, a very precise means of dating trees that involved analyzing tree-ring patterns.

"It is quite remarkable that this large, complex and impressive organism has survived so long in such an inhospitable environment, in a land that has been civilized for over 3000 years" Paul J. Krusic, a dendrochronologist from Stockholm University and leader of the expedition that found the tree, said in a statement.

The tree, dubbed “Adonis” after the Greek god beauty and desire, is among more than a dozen other trees of similar age in a treeline forest high in Greece’s Pindos Mountains.

"Many years ago I read a thesis about this very interesting forest in Greece,” Krusic said. “In our research, we try to build long chronologies to construct climate histories, so finding living trees of old age is one of our motivations. To age the tree, we needed to take a core of wood, from the outside to the center. The core is one meter and has 1075 annual rings.”

This tree has seen some things
While older trees have been discovered in Europe, these are yews, chestnuts, or other clonal trees like them, which reproduce asexually. These trees are attached to the same root system, and individual "trees" that sprout up typically last a couple hundred years.

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